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California and Nevada

More than one-quarter (26 percent) of the participants work in the Greater Los Angeles region, while one-fifth (20 percent) work in the Bay Area. The Central Coast/Central Valley region accounts for 12 percent. San Diego and the Inland Empire each chipped in 11 percent, with Orange County (9 percent), Wine Country/Sacramento (6 percent) and Nevada (5 percent) rounding out the remainder. This breakdown indicates that 95 percent of those surveyed work in California. Three-quarters are employed full time (35 or more hours per week). A strong majority – 86 percent – are women.

Based on the data gathered from these demographics, the average hourly rate for a nurse in California is $45.05, for an average annual salary of $86,786. Nurses in Nevada reported averages of $33.98 per hour and $45,504 per year.

Dennis Yee, president-elect of the National Association for Health Care Recruitment and a recruitment consultant for Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera, said the average hourly rate for California is consistent with what he is seeing throughout the state. Yee added that the average annual salary seemed a bit low, commenting that new grad nurses in central California, regardless of degree but including shift differentials, overtime and unit, work at an average salary of $76,000 per year.

“When you apply the formula that healthcare recruiters use in their metrics, which is 2,080 hours multiplied by the average hourly rate of pay, the number is closer to $93,000 or $94,000 for nurses in California,” he said.

Michelle Hughes, BSN, ACIR, CDR, of Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, Reno, echoed Yee’s assessment, noting that new grads in Nevada start in the $55,000 range. Applying the average hourly pay reported for Nevada to the formula suggested by Yee, the state’s average annual nursing salary would be about $70,000.

Yee also agreed with survey data regarding salary by facility type. Nurses working at government facilities reported the highest average annual income at $92,000 – $5,000 more than non-profit facilities and $15,000 more than for-profit facilities. In terms of facility size, facilities with 401-500 beds are paying the highest hourly rate ($49.14), less than $1 per hour more than facilities with 201-300 beds; in general, smaller facilities paid the lowest hourly rates while the largest facilities paid less than midsize facilities.

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